Seafood sales drop after Covid-19 outbreak

Seafood sales drop after Covid-19 outbreak

A sign announcing,
A sign announcing, "Seafood at this stall is from Trat province" in front of a seafood stall seeks to reassure customers at Bua Yai municipal market in Nakhon Ratchasima, following the Covid-19 outbreak at a wholesale shrimp market in Samut Sakhon province. (Photo: Prasit Tangprasert)

NAKHON RATCHASIMA: Seafood vendors in Bua Yai district say sales have dropped sharply following the outbreak of Covid-19 at a wholesale shrimp market in Samut Sakhon province.

The atmosphere at Bua Yai municipal market was muted on Friday, particularly at seafood stalls.

Seafood vendor Chakri Ketmai told the Bangkok Post that many of his regular customers were noticably absent. Only food shops and restaurants were buying.

He said customers feared being infected with Covid-19. Some had asked him where his seafood came from.

To boost confidence in the safety of his goods, he put up a sign with the message, “Seafood at this stall is from Trat province’’.

He also kept telling customers his products passed inspection by health officials from Bua Yai municipality, to reassure them his seafood was fresh, not contaminated with the virus,  and safe to cook, he said.

Mr Chakri wanted seafood lovers to understand there were many wholesale markets vendors bought their wares from, not just Samut Sakhon.

Other seafood vendors reported a similar lack of buyers.  (continues below)

A stall selling squid and shrimp at Bua Yai municipal market in Nakhon Ratchasima attracts no customers on Friday morning. (Photo: Prasit Tangprasert)

On Thursday, the Fisheries Department chief assured consumers the Covid-19 virus could not be carried in seafood, and that strict sanitary measures were in place for fishing crews and food processing plants during handling of the catch.

Department chief Meesak Pakdeekhong said there had been no reports of cold-blooded marine animals being infected by the Sars or MERs viruses, which were the same family as the Covid-19 virus.

His remarks were aimed at consumers' fears about the safety of seafood after the resurgence of Covid-19 in Thailand, which emerged at a wholesale shrimp market in Samut Sakhon province and has since spread to other provinces.

On Wednesday, health authorities in Nakhon Ratchasima reported three local people who recently visited Samut Sakhon were diagnosed with Covid-19 -- two seafood vendors and a tambon official in Bua Yai district.

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